Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Long Way Down

Not much blogging this week--I've been slammed at work, the two most loyal readers I'm aware of are both on vacation (and every performer, after all, needs an audience), and honestly I've been pushed into despair by the Theoligarchy Convention currently befouling this city I live in.

I think it was California Treasurer Phil Angelides who described it as "the Potemkin Convention," and that sounds about right: moderates put on a show, while the "extra-chromosome crowd" continues to call the shots and resist anything like good utilitarian policy proposals. Which means that thoughtful pieces like what David Brooks wrote in this past Sunday's New York Times magazine, about how Republicans could embrace "progressive conservatism" (though you might agree it sure looks like a New Democrat agenda) is right on the line between tragedy and farce. I could say the same about John McCain, who bellows his support for the pampered rich boy who slimed him to the throngs while admitting his disgust at seeing those same tactics out the corner of his mouth.

What really upsets me, though, is the media, which in its total non-discriminating coverage of this travesty is in the process of failing us like never before. Case in point: last night I saw Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao on, I think NY1, our local news station which is doing a lot of convention coverage this week. Chao talked about Bush's robust support for job training, how he envisions the economy of tomorrow and has put federal dollars behind that vision, and so on. Now, I'm a public policy analyst, and workforce development is my field. So I happen to know that every year since the SCOTUS installed him, Bush has asked Congress to cut funding for job training by tens of millions (and usually, a few responsible Republicans in Congress, like Buck McKeon of California and the two Maine Senators, have stopped the cuts).

But the blow-dried anchor "questioning" Chao didn't raise this point--nor did he ask why, if job training is so important to the administration, they're closing DOL offices that oversee those grants in New York, Seattle and three other cities, and laying off hundreds of experienced administrators. If you're going to have a guest like that on, shouldn't you at least familiarize yourself with the issues rather than just provide a platform for them to spout whatever propaganda is on the talking points?

There was also this hard-to-believe factoid from The Carpetbagger. Priorities? We don't need no stinkin' priorities.

At least they're gone after tomorrow, though with Citizen Dick and the pResident still to speak, the worst is probably yet to come.

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